Novel metagenome-derived ornithine lipids identified by functional screening for biosurfactants.


Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, 7535, South Africa. [Email]


Biosurfactants are amphiphilic molecules that interact with the surfaces of liquids leading to many useful applications. Most biosurfactants have been identified from cultured microbial sources, leaving a largely untapped resource of uncultured bacteria with potentially novel biosurfactant structures. To access the uncultured bacteria, a metagenomic library was constructed in Escherichia coli from environmental DNA within an E. coli, Pseudomonas putida and Streptomyces lividans shuttle vector. Phenotypic screening of the library in E. coli and P. putida by the paraffin spray assay identified a P. putida clone with biosurfactant activity. Sequence analysis and transposon mutagenesis confirmed that an ornithine acyl-ACP N-acyltransferase was responsible for the activity. Although the fosmid was not active in E. coli, overexpression of the olsB gene could be achieved under the control of the inducible T7 promoter, resulting in lyso-ornithine lipid production and biosurfactant activity in the culture supernatants. Screening for activity in more than one host increases the range of sequences that can be identified through metagenomic, since olsB would not have been identified if only E. coli had been used as a host. The potential of lyso-ornithine lipids as a biosurfactant has not been fully explored. Here, we present several biosurfactant parameters of lyso-ornithine lipid to assess its suitability for industrial application.


Biosurfactant,Lyso-ornithine lipid,Metagenomics,Ornithine acyl-ACP N-acyltransferase,Ornithine lipid,